A whistleblower complaint against President Trump, the existence of which was revealed last week, involves the Ukraine and a commitment Trump made to a foreign leader via phone, according to several reports.
The specific allegations in the complaint remain unknown. However, the handling of the complaint has caused considerable controversy as Acting Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire stopped intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson from revealing the details of the complaint to the House Intelligence Committee.
The committee chairman, Representative Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), charged that Maguire acted contrary to what is generally required by law.
Both the New York Times and Washington Post pointed out that two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke on the phone with newly-elected Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodomyr Zelentsky. Trump told Zelentsky that the latter could improve its relationship with the U.S. by tackling corruption more vigorously, according to a Ukrainian government summary of the call.
Around the same time, Trump associates including lawyer Rudy Giuliani were pushing Ukraine to investigate some of Trump’s political opponents, including Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Giuliani maintains he was investigating possible conflicts of interest involving the elder Biden’s diplomatic efforts in Ukraine and Hunter’s connections with a gas company based in the country.
The House Intelligence Committee tried Wednesday to obtain more information regarding the whistleblower complaint, meeting with Atkinson in a closed-door session. However, Atkinson remained tight-lipped regarding the specifics of the complaint.
Committee head Schiff came out of the meeting threatening to possibly sue in court to have the complaint revealed.
Schiff asserted to reporters that someone is “trying to manipulate the system to keep information about an urgent matter from the Congress … There certainly are a lot of indications that it was someone at a higher pay grade than the director of national intelligence.”
Update 3:45 p.m.: President Trump urged Ukrainian PM Zelentsky to investigate Hunter Biden eight times during the phone call between the two heads of state in July, according to an official familiar with the call’s contents cited in the Wall Street Journal.
However, according to that same official, Trump did not discuss any quid-pro-quo in exchange for starting an investigation.
The new revelations come amid intense speculation into the contents of the whistleblower complaint against Trump, which alleges Trump made commitments to an unspecified foreign leader.